Pharmacy students use community outreach to demonstrate role of pharmacist

November 6, 2018

students at library
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On October 28, students and preceptors from The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy were stationed at 10 Franklin County libraries to educate the community on safe medication use as well as provide free blood pressure and diabetes blood glucose tests. The event was held to demonstrate to the public of the role of a pharmacist in improving health and to show support of Senate Bill 265, which would formally recognize pharmacists as healthcare providers in Ohio law.

According to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, the state is ranked 46 out of the 50 on health value. This indicates that Ohioans are living less healthy lives and spending more on health care compared to residents of other states. However, allowing pharmacists to provide care and practice with the full scope of their professional training presents a sensible solution.

More than 40 participating students collaborated to provide 86 blood pressure readings and 77 blood glucose tests to community members within just a few hours. PharmD students Stephanie Yasechko, Andrew Myers, Natalie Hagy and Sheriff Benson led the event, inviting state legislators to attend. State Representatives Jim Hughes and Craig Riedel and Senator Stephanie Kunze were all present to show their support for the initiative.

The event demonstrated firsthand how the role of pharmacists has evolved in recent years to become more patient care service-oriented. In light of growing demands for access to health care services, SB 265 seeks to expand opportunities for patients to receive pharmacist care in addition to receiving medicines, making the case for why the provider definitions and insurance law in Ohio should match the current role of pharmacists in providing patient care.

“The event was really successful,” Yasechko said. “It was great to explain to representatives about the role of the pharmacist. They didn’t realize how much we could do, so I think it was impactful for them to see us in action.”

In addition to providing information about SB 265 and point-of-care testing, students educated the public about safe medication use and services available at local pharmacies. Their commitment to helping the community achieve better health demonstrated both their passion for patient care and role as change agents within Ohio’s health care system.

“Pharmacists are the most widely accessible member of the health care team and play an important role in monitoring patient health,” Yasechko said. “They can ensure patients achieve the best medication outcomes in addition to cost-effective and safe therapy. We hope to hold the event again next year so even more of our community members can learn about the role of pharmacists.”